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By Saulo Araujo
November 15th, 2010
In the northeast of Brazil, the landscape changes from dry, spiny vegetation to humid, verdant scenery dominated by sugar cane plantations. Driving through villages inhabited mostly by sugar-cane cutters is like winding through a slum in a big city. Barefoot children sell candy beneath the traffic lights, Coca-Cola signs light up bars and open-air sewage gives an indication of the pervasive poverty.
In the middle of a “green desert” of sugar cane (grown mostly for export), from the road I saw two adults and a young boy working in what appeared to be a tiny oasis teeming with lush fresh vegetables that shined from afar.
The Via Campesina – a Grassroots International partner – is organizing a long march in Mexico for life and environmental justice, prior to the United Nations conference on Climate Change in Cancun. Led by indigenous and peasant families, the caravans will depart from different locations and converge in Mexico City's Zocalo for a mass demonstration on November 30. Along the way, participants will visit communities affected by environmental disasters, such as those caused by the San Javier mining site in the state of San Luis de Potosí and El Zapotillo Dam in Jalisco.
The below press release from Grassroots International's ally the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) discusses some of the events that were held on Indigenous Peoples' Day. IEN is a network of indigenous peoples who focus on creating sustainable livelihoods, demanding environmental justice, and maintaining indigenous traditions.
As part of a larger campaign to support the right to land, this week Grassroots International provided a $10,000 grant to boost education and organizing around a powerful national referendum in Brazil. The referendum, being organized by social movements for the first week of September, probes public opinion regarding the size of land holdings.
Although non-binding, the referendum provides an opportunity for land rights activists to educate voters about the growing problem of landlessness in the countryside caused by the expansion of agribusinesses in peasant and indigenous communities.
The recent monsoonal floods in Pakistan have devastated nearly a third of the country’s landmass – by some estimates area the size of Italy. More than 20 million people have been directly impacted by the rising waters of the Indus and other rivers in three of Pakistan’s four major provinces – Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the Punjab (Pakistan’s bread-basket) and Sindh.
July 14th, 2010
A new online film from WhyHunger, “The Food and Climate Connection: From Heating the Planet to Healing It,” highlights the impact of today’s global food system on the climate and how a community-based food movement around the world is bringing to life a way of farming and eating that’s better for our bodies and the planet. Featuring interviews with farmers, community leaders, and sustainability advocates, the film highlights how the industrial food system is among the greatest contributors to global warming and how sustainable farming practices can pose a powerful solution to the crisis.
By Saulo Araujo and Alisa Pimentel
June 30th, 2010
With the support of Grassroots International, the Mexican Alliance for the Self-Determination of Peoples (AMAP) sent a small delegation of Indigenous representatives to the Peoples World Conference on Climate Change, held in Cochabamba, Bolivia from April 19-22, 2010. Below is an excerpt from AMAP’s report from the event:
By Alisa Pimentel
Among the almost 20,000 activists gathered in Detroit for the US Social Forum this week are several Grassroots International partners and allies. Grassroots International regularly provides funding to our partners and allies to participate in movement-building and leadership development gatherings.
Last month, I traveled to Cochabamba, Bolivia for a number of reasons. The main one was to attend the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth. Many of Grassroots International’s partners from Latin America, Asia and Africa were also there – some of whom we supported to attend – and it was a great opportunity for me to meet with them and with many of our allies in one central location. They were all at the conference because for them the climate crisis is immediate in its impact and not some theoretical scenario for the future.